BA Eng Lit, MSc Politics, DipHG
The Downing Street Project is a ground-breaking initiative to promote and enable balanced leadership between men and women at every level of society, up to and including 10 Downing Street. Despite constituting 51% of the UK population, women still hold only 11% of directorships in business boardrooms, 36.9% of top jobs in the health service and 19.5% of seats in the Houses of Parliament.
Research has shown that women are excellent mediators, networkers and problem solvers. They are skilled at keeping cool in a crisis and willing to develop themselves in the face of difficulty. The Downing Street Project founders believe that these qualities are called for to address the challenges we currently face; that women have a responsibility to step up to take leadership roles.
This is not a call for simple numerical equality, but a plea for deep cultural change. How can we move on from our ‘hard powered’ ethos – with its excessive risk, competition and reliance on force – to a ‘softer powered’ public space? One more reliant on co-operation, co-creation and what President Obama describes as “the power of our example” – being the change we wish to see?
Soft Power is a ‘psychosocial’ phenomenon, sourced in the culture of a nation or the character of an individual.
It arises in relationship with another country, community or person and is experienced as the power of attraction. It is carried through the networks where image, reputation, and popularity are forged and is expressed as the ability to influence the decisions of others without the use of force.
Soft Power is of interest to nations because it translates directly into influence – other nations listen. It also leads indirectly to more trade, tourism and investment. It is of interest to individuals because it gives them clout. Soft powered individuals get things done because others want to support them.
Soft Power cannot be manufactured, contrived, bought or sold. But it can be generated through paying attention to behaviour, activity, values, and relationship.
Soft Power Network is a meeting point for those interested in generating soft power and a resource for those looking for practices, tools, and help to use them.
Throughout the 90s, as Director of Conflict and Peace Forums, Indra presented lecture series, seminars, events and residential training courses, inviting experts and participants from all over the world. Below are some examples of the courses and publications that ensued.
During the same period, in association with the ICA, Tate Modern and Prospect magazine, Indra conducted an inquiry into the ‘Power of the Arts’ for personal and social transformation. Alongside drama, jazz and classical concerts, she convened seminars and workshops exploring the role of the Arts in development.
Working as Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, Indra put on numerous controversial events.